Saturday, October 31, 2009

Nearly there

Just about done.....the laptop's on charge and I don't THINK I've forgotten anything vital so I'm taking a comfort break before a bit of a snooze on the'll be a long night (taxi booked for 1.30am then coach to East Midlands airport for a 9.30 flight....ouch!) Fingers crossed that the hotel really does have wifi access, got caught out last year (different hotel) when their 'internet access' turned out to be a single, supremely beige, geriatric pc in the foyer. I've had real problems with Blogger this afternoon, the connection keeps timing out, so message for Paul and Irene....I'll drop you a text when I get there (including a mugshot so you know who to avoid till Thursday....see you then, and safe journey!)

Friday, October 30, 2009

A bit early for Halloween

It's the same every year, I say I won't but I just can't resist listening.....the original 1938, Orson Welles version of 'The War of the Worlds' that caused a bit of a stir when it was first broadcast.

But if you want to try out a few alternative versions there's lots here....obviously I'm not alone!

Dr Concrete

Dr Concrete, originally uploaded by moclaydon.

Trying out the 'Blog This' feature in Flickr....nifty!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

PS....the problem with kittens....

.....lovely but.........

RIP Norman Painting

"The Archers" ("an everyday story of country folk") has been an almost continuous radio essential in my life, sometimes I've fallen by the wayside, but I've always come back!.....we're of an age, the pilot episode went out a little less than a year before I was born and regular broadcasts started on Jan 1st 1951. So sad news today that Norman Painting, the longest serving cast member who played Phil Archer, there from the very first episode as juvenile lead, died aged 85. The above pic is of AN ACTUAL REAL-LIFE ARCHERS SCRIPT, sold for charity a few years ago by Tim Bentinck (who plays his son David)....I bought a few, they made great Xmas presents for other family addicts! In the studio recording only 2 days ago, he'll be sadly missed.

Another thing sadly missed.....

"The Berlin Reunion" which happened early in October, dammit!
"a several-day performance by France's Royal de Luxe street theatre company titled "The Berlin Reunion". Part of the celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Reunion show featured two massive marionettes, the Big Giant, a deep-sea diver, and his niece, the Little Giantess. The storyline of the performance has the two separated by a wall, thrown up by "land and sea monsters". The Big Giant has just returned from a long and difficult - but successful - expedition to destroy the wall, and now the two are walking the streets of Berlin, seeking each other after many years apart."

Great pictures here at Big Picture, and a video at Vimeo.....

I really need to start writing a packing list, finding chargers/adaptors/cables/other electronics shite...and, not least, checking that the work laptop actually 'works' (sadly not a given!).....gotta dash!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Half day

Taken on the way out of the (work) front door at lunchtime.....y'know I love them but I love to leave them!

Christmas Cake update....the deed is done, 2 boozy whoppers currently cooling/sobering up on the kitchen bench, they smell rather nice!!

Other stuff

The British Library has a wealth of audio goodies online here
Just a's an extract from a 'Linguaphone' recording, 'English Conversation' from 1929 (and by the way the customer in the tobacconists shop just happens to be J R R Tolkein.......yes, that would be that J R R Tolkein!)

Tonight's contender for 'classic crap film experience' has to be........

.....available for download (in 12 edge-of-your-cinema-seat-buttock-clenching-episodes) at Archive Classic Movies

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wet fruit

The postponed-from Sunday, 3 generation Christmas cake bake is now definitely on for tomorrow the dried fruit is well and truly soused and smelling bloody gorgeous, but it's not wise to work out how much it actually costs to make, it's probably cheaper to go out and buy one at M&S!

The programme for the Berlin trip was finalised this morning (note to Imp and SD : and Thursday afternoon is officially 'free' if you are?) and I got my expenses in a plain brown envelope this afternoon....that makes it 'real' somehow, roll on Sunday!

A couple of assorted frivolities:
A rather nice free download if you're feeling creative, Livebrush
They say...."Livebrush is a drawing application. It employs an easy-to-use brush tool that reacts to your gesture. By combining simple motion controls with brush styles, Livebrush offers a fun and unique way to create graphics." You have to have Adobe Air installed (but that comes with the download if you haven't already got it) and there's versions for Windows, Mac and Linux

Still feeling creative? Soundation Studio looks like fun if you fancy playing with audio

It's an online app and they say:
"Soundation Studio is the web based sequencer that enables you to make music, ringtones and audio clips directly from the internet without downloading any software. This beta version includes over 400 royalty free audio loops, 9 different effects, track automation, basic loop editing, loop audition, master channel control and mix down to desktop." (not that I understand a word of that!)

And here's some reason!
Middle Eastern Cookery

Monday, October 26, 2009

Blurry Monday

I hate Mondays....I may have mentioned that before. Most of it passed in a blur after I woke up at about 5am raring to go....unfortunately it didn't last. Ended up snoozing on the metro on the way home after a couple of eyelid-drooping moments mid-afternoon (though luckily woke up before my stop). The question is, can I last out till about 11pm to try to rebalance the internal body clock........

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The sneaky salon shot

A sneaked shot from yesterday taken with the compact camera I rediscovered a couple of weeks ago....unfortunately it was on the 'utter crap quality' setting! But what is it about the lighting in hairdressing salons? Guaranteed to add 10 years to your age and emphasise every wrinkle, freckle, blemish and eye bag...and they charge you for the priveledge. Still, it's worth it for the entertainment value. The guy that's been cutting my hair for the last 30 odd years is a shining light in the local am dram soc (Widow Twanky in this years pantomime, perfect casting!) and was in fine voice yesterday giving us 'songs from the shows' with all the actions. We've got a 3 generation Christmas Cake Baking session this afternoon, so there may be a licking-the-bowl photo op later!

Friday, October 23, 2009


I've just spotted that a couple of the audio/podcast widgets on the right-hand side have suddenly stopped idea why, but I can't fix them. Just in case you fancy a bit of scifi/horror/fantasy download listening pleasure here's direct links to the websites....after all, it's nearly halloween!

Escape Pod (scifi)

Pseudopod (horror)

Podcastle (fantasy)

In praise of the local rag

Every Friday the (99.2% free) local rag hits the doormat with headlines like "Bus services are diverted", "Choir gains some new members at rehearsal" and (honestly, I'm not kidding!) "Residents urged to plan their funeral", but you know I wouldn't miss it for the's a gripping read! Only tonight I learned that the inventor of Plasticine was born only a few miles down the road and to commemorate the fact "colourful new seats which have been made to look like moulded Plasticine (.....mmmmm, nice....can't wait!) are to be installed" in the streets of his birthplace (and before you bombard me with questions it was a certain Mr William Harbutt in 1894, so just remember that for your next pub quiz, it could be a clincher!)
That sounds like a cue for a video......

But Mr Harbutt wasn't our only famous resident....oh no, this is no cultural backwater, we're terrifically couth....Stan Laurel did time lived round here too and revisited the scenes of his misspent youth with Oliver Hardy in the (I'm guessing!) 30's.....I used to live about 50 yards south of where this was filmed, and the Grand Hotel is still going strong. WARNING.....slightly surrealistic, the commentary is in Italian!

Be thankfull you got the 'light' version tonight....I was going to post a picture of my (kitten-clawed) lacerated legs.....but I decided the world wasn't ready........

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Quickie pic

autumn colour

A 'through the office window' shot when the sun caught the leaves on the trees but didn't quite reach the ground.
I survived the day.....result! Enough said....bed!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Low-res rubber soles

And speaking of resolution, I really must start uploading more pictures to Flickr and linking, rather than doing a low-res version to upload to blogger (old habit from when it was just the frivolous links and when there was an upper limit on total blog size....maybe there still is?) Re the shot: Like the shoes, not convinced by the dropped-crotch trousers!

Busy day on the cards tomorrow....we have an 'accreditation visit' where visiting academics (usually from competing-in-the-same-field institutions) and miscellaneous crusty worthies (wearing regulation corduroy jackets with leather elbow patches) decide whether one of our courses delivers what it says on the tin. Luckily most of what I had to do is already done, but I'm down for the 'tour of facilities' which is going to involve a slightly smarter pair of trousers (currently in the wash) and a 'bright-eyed and bushy-tailed' mindset....the latter might be a bit more challenging!

Nice video (it's from embed code never seems to work for me, I'm probably doing something wrong!)

Link to Way of the Mantis

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Just one of those days....the best I've managed is copying loads of stuff from one place to another and standing up and sitting down a lot.....believe me, you really don't want to know. Tomorrow HAS to be better!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fashion victim

Looks like the trilby is the new back-turned baseball cap....remember, you saw it here first!

The cold/chest infection/whatever drags on.....I can walk, I can talk....just not at the same time. Early bed for me tonight! I bumped into one of our mature students on the way into work this morning, a lovely Irish guy called Ken....he was asking me how long I'd worked at the uni, '20 years' I gasped/wheezed while leaning against a convenient wall, 'Jaysuss'd get less for murder!'......he's got a point!

But there's always time for a few arty-farty timewasters before I dive under the duvet....

Create your own Jackson Pollock masterpiece here

Maybe be your own Picasso here

or just make pretty patterns by fiddling with the sliders here

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Nintendo gurl

This one's been passed by the official censor.....apparently it's blurry enough to hide her freckles and she likes the minimal selective colour on the DS screen, but she'd like me to point out in no uncertain terms that the teddy bear in the background is absolutely nothing to do with her, it's the kittens 'cuddly bed'.

Haven't played this one since Episode 1, but now there's 3....
Deep Chalk
Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
It's one of those point-and-clicky affairs
Maybe later.....if I don't fall asleep ......

Mystic Mog

Spent yesterday evening zizzing on the couch with the kittens, coughing and spluttering gently (me, not the kittens). And after a good night's sleep I've woken up this morning feeling lots better....which is good, because Daizy arrives at lunchtime for a sleepover...but no doubt more of that later!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

All burnt out

Another day of virtually zero photographic endeavour.
The cold, or whatever it is, is still simmering, I might even have to admit defeat and take the day off tomorrow, I hate being sick.....but I've bought in pills and potions that might make it easier!

But there was some good news today...the plans for the Berlin fieldtrip in a couple of weeks are starting to take shape, there's just one more day to fill with meaningful/justifiable/educational activities and then we're sorted. I'm just hoping that final empty day doesn't involve me in trying to persuade a bunch of 40+ students that creating group websites illustrating their fieldtrip experience (using German software in a computer lab at a necessarily nameless Berlin University) is a 'good' thing to do.....and that probably after they've had a heavy night on the beer. Been there, done that, got the thanks, well not if I can help it anyway! I'd much rather do Berliner Unterwelten (that would be the society for exploration and documentation of subterranean architecture) and dig deep into cold-war history....but currently the court's out!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Gravel grading

It's official, I've developed a steaming cold and a hacking cough I'm not a happy bunny. What makes it worse, I can't take any time off work....too much to do and my left-hand-man is on leave. So I only took a couple of pics today, both of them out of the office window. The other one went to 'the other place' and looks remarkably similar to the one above. I suspect he was fishing out fag ends from the gravel.....but I didn't shout down to ask.

Quick link to a musical webtoy that entertained me for a couple of minutes during my non-existent lunchtime

Link to Incredibox

Time for some serious lolling on the couch with a large pot of tea and crap on the box I think.....

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Balancing act....... in 'Life is a...', at least that how it feels at the moment. I've spent the day pecking away at the 6 or so current jobs on my desk trying to keep just that one step ahead of the next person to come through the door and ask for the finished article, it's life on the edge, I may have to throw a tantrum or three tomorrow! The screengrab above is from a VectorPark game I MUST have posted before....but, y'know, it's worth a revisit!

Tonight's job, if I can be arsed, is starting to sort out the mountain of cds/dvds stacked on spindles (2000 plus at a vague count) scattered around the house, a miscellany of radio plays/music/films/stuff that I've accumulated over the years....but maybe I'll just open a bottle of wine instead.....

Monday, October 12, 2009

Accidents and incidents


First an accidental shot taken while walking along a corridor....don't know why, but I like it! It sort of illustrates the day too, all just a bit of a blur. Bit of a disaster yesterday...the internet died on me, no idea why but it's back up-and-running again, sometimes it's just best not to ask....
Then this afternoon we had a bomb threat and were evacuated/herded to to the Uni Library Quad (it's SUCH a good idea to keep all the prospective targets together in a bunch I think!)


Conspiracy theories abound, was it the Students Union trying to boost lunchtime sales (if so it worked, it was heaving in there!) or was it an exercise testing the emergency services because of a certain minor royal who recently started at 'the other university' across the road (if they'd done it there it would have hit the headlines)....the court's still out!

Oh well, at least that's Monday out of the way!

PS.....should maybe have added this. Remember like Bert!!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Chuck-out Friday

The Council has been emailed about collecting the fridge, the dishwasher, the chest of drawers (without the drawers), the vintage microwave (probably with a vintage lasagne inside, didn't check), the 2 rusty bikes, the lawnmower that hasn't seen active service for years, the wheelbarrow with a gaping hole and 2 burnt out vaccuum cleaners. But I kept the overhead projector and portable microfiche just never know when they might come in handy! I also found a compact camera that I forgot I even had, I may take it out for a spin tomorrow. No idea who the redoubtable lady above is, but she turned up in an old photograph album that used to belong to a vague relative of my great aunt....also appearing were a lot of gents either in full highland dress or in World War 1 uniforms, I bet there were some stories there, unfortunately there's no-one left to ask what they were.

Some of the sort-out was done to the accompaniament of the Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain, a sample for your delectation, 'I'm just a Teenage Dirtbag' like you've never heard it before.....

Now it's me for the couch and a bit of kitten communing!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

It's the weekend! read that right, I've got the day off tomorrow! But yes, it's coat-wearing weather, can't win 'em all I suppose.....

Found this today while looking for something completely raised a smile!

Seeing as I'm now officially in 'not-at-work' mode maybe a game later might be in order....

Found at Jayisgames
They say "It is difficult to describe the gameplay of The Glean of Glob. This is a surrealist dream, or perhaps a nightmare. There are no instructions, the player must figure out what to do while interacting with the characters on the screen. Everything can be accomplished by a click of the mouse, but after that, well, perhaps you'd better see for yourself. If you are looking for a linear experience, starting at A and progressing neatly to Z, this is not the place for you. But if you are up to the challenge, and would like to experience thought-provoking artwork, then dive into the world of The Glean of Glob"
Link straight to the game

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Snappier snaps.....

....think I need to check out Beatrice's advice (courtesy Girl Annual No 8, pub 1960), feeling a bit lack-lustre about the 'snaps' I'm taking at the moment.....maybe I'll try a bit of B&W (something that really scares me, I might even have to read the bloody manual......but there's nothing like fear to spice up life a bit!) But Beatrice obviously knows her stuff, she says.....
"Beware of making freaks of your friends, drainpipes growing out of shoulders and heads level with 'Road blocked' signs should be avoided too. They are an embarrassment to the photographer and, of course, to the model"
.....oh bugger........maybe I should read "Looking for the ideal pet?....Why not keep a BUDGIE" or "Learning about fashion sense" (though it's probably all down to wearing a clean pair of white cotton gloves at all times) instead.

Silly video

Now to brave 'The Kitten Wall of Death", they do circuits....getting ever higher until they fall off walls, furniture,

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Back door...., not mine, the one at work. By the way the curly stemmed plant is 100% plastic and the sofas would fit in well in a budget hotel chain reception area....really can't imagine what they were thinking of! A bit of a non-day today, head down doing boring things, but I made progress with stuff that's been hanging over my head for weeks, so not all bad.

But I DID find this.....

They say....
"Create free Google Maps from your Flickr Photosets for use in your website or blog, or for sending to friend's Facebook, Twitter or your favourite website. Its quick and easy, only takes three simple steps and best of all, its free!" all I need to do is to start using Flickr more and creating sets!
Link to MapFlickr

There's loads of people feeling under the weather or even downright sick at the moment, it happens every year at about this time at the uni when a whole load of foreign germs hit town. I tried to embed a great (1945) video from (be warned, dip in there and you'll be lost for days!), but it didn't work, so here's the link instead....Coughs and Sneezes Spread Diseases

And, just as predicted, I got sucked in.....just downloaded Weird Islands (1921) in pdf, the illustrations are amazing!

I'll leave you with a song....

Monday, October 05, 2009

Room with an identity crisis

Spotted on a corridor not a million miles from my office...hey, I can identify with that!

Found out last week that I'm Berlin bound for a week at the start of November on a field-trip, I'll be an ersatz Quantity Surveyor again this year (no complaints, this is year 4 so I know the ropes and the relative alcohol capacities/personal quirks of my fellow 'grown-ups''ll be fine as long as we don't lose any students or get arrested!) Found this rather nice/thoughtful photo essay (260 images) that I haven't got to the end of yet, but will later.

What am I looking forward to most?......the traditional first morning walk from East to West, Alexanderplatz to Potsdamerplatz via Museuminsel/Unter den Linden/Brandenburger Tor/Tiergarten.....magic!

Quick link to a great place to download (free) music if you're into the 'world' variety....
na Bula Bula

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Round the doors

Lovely day today, sunny but with an autumnal nip in the air. Seeing as Daizy was staying over after last night's family get-together a trip to the beach was called for....she paddled, I didn't! That's Cullercoats lifeboat station up there with the boat out for a Sunday airing. We spotted some seaweed gatherers (it's great on the garden, but rather smelly!)

Then it was off to Tynemouth Station market to meet up with the fond parents for the handover, a nice Italian meal and a browse round the stalls

All in all it's been a pretty good day!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Family affair.... in just back from one, and decidedly squiffy. Subjects tonight are granddaughter Daizy on the left (about to inflict some sort of fiendish foot tickling torture on her victim) and her second coz Ben on the right (who doesn't seem to mind too much and is always willing to smile for the camera) Bed calls................

Friday, October 02, 2009

Communications hub

From the traditional 'envelope stuffing' to the electronic.....done something like this before 'in another place', probably from the same vantage point in fact.....a lack-lustre but stupidly busy day!

I like looking at's not a secret....and especially vintage graphics......

Check out ephemera assemblyman for a blast from the past, you won't regret it!

Now I'm brain-dead
....need pain-killers
....lots of water
....switched-off alarm clock
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